A memoir so good I have to bring my long break from "Goodreads" additions to an end!
I did become incredulous not too far into this book that it was fA memoir so good I have to bring my long break from "Goodreads" additions to an end!
I did become incredulous not too far into this book that it was far too well laid out and eloquent to be by Agassi alone, regardless of how bright and driven he is. It's not, as J R Moehringer - a very good writer and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist - helped. It becomes obvious too that extensive time and work was spent reviewing videotaped matches of Agassi's, as the level of detail often given on each nuance of Agassi's or his opponent's every stroke of the ball is amazing and beyond the reach of ordinary memory. However, neither Moehringer's hand, or the exhaustive details of match play, take away from the authentic feel, compelling interest and forward impetus of this memoir.
Agassi had enormous talent and success on the professional tennis circuit. How his father, a Florida tennis academy, various coaches, and his own drive and conflicted emotions molded him into this tennis prodigy is a fascinating story. At base this is a memoir scaffolded on the power and control themes of son vs. father, then son vs. the world.
Agassi shines through as a truly thoughtful and resilient man. He is eventually able to understand and forgive his father and to leave pro tennis with a generous portion of dignity, money, and learned wisdom intact. The details of relationships and marriages to Brooke Shields and then to Steffi Graf add to the interest of Agassi's story. But just the details of what it takes and feels like to play an individual sport at the very top level and come out with your head on straight is what really sets this memoir apart. ...more
Of the 100+ parenting books I've read, this is the best. Eloquent voice, well supported by cites, raised against CONTROL as the keystone of parent/chiOf the 100+ parenting books I've read, this is the best. Eloquent voice, well supported by cites, raised against CONTROL as the keystone of parent/child relationships. As Kohn suggests, put away the "Good Job!"s, stop counting one two three, and consider what bribes and threats may do in the long term....more
A remarkable modern memoir by a woman who grew up mainly in Somalia, in the Muslim faith, but who emigrated to Holland and became perhaps best known aA remarkable modern memoir by a woman who grew up mainly in Somalia, in the Muslim faith, but who emigrated to Holland and became perhaps best known as a prominent critic of Islam. Her passion and eloquence is undeniable. Her questions, especially on precepts of Islam she was taught, and more generally those relating to power by men over women, are well and fairly posed. I did end up thinking, however, that her particular experience at the hands or government of those who identified as Muslim was so searing and unjustifiable or unforgivable it was inevitably very difficult for her to see anything good about the Islamic faith. Regardless, I think this is an important, brave book by a most intelligent and articulate woman. The author writes well and thoughtfully, with many well placed historical or literary references....more
To write this fascinating book, Jean Sasson extensively interviewed both Osama Bin Laden’s first wife and one of the eleven children she bore during tTo write this fascinating book, Jean Sasson extensively interviewed both Osama Bin Laden’s first wife and one of the eleven children she bore during their marriage. Osama’s strong will, power, and stoic idealism are brought forward through their direct observations. As Osama was close lipped with all members of his family, there are few details as to how Osama planned and executed the September 11 attacks and with whom he associated in his terroristic acts.
His son does speculate on why his father acted as he did. One of his theories is that Osama took a turn for the fanatical when the Saudi royal family spurned Osama’s offer to help defend Saudi Arabia from Iraq, and instead welcomed US forces. At the time of Osama’s offer, he was considered a heroic war genius for having ousted the Russians from Afghanistan with his Mujahideen soldiers. To Osama, Saudi Arabia had too much “secular pollution” and their embrace of the US was confirmation that strict Islamism was not being taken seriously.
Osama moved his family to Somalia, where his stoic idealism seemed to be morphing into harshness bordering on insanity, at least in his way of dealing with his family. By this time he had several wives. The wife and son interviewed for this book remember miserable marches overnight in the desert, on Osama’s order. Sometimes all food and water was denied, and no extra clothes or blankets allowed for the freezing night. Instead, Osama insisted all dig shallow grave like holes in the ground and cover themselves with dirt for warmth. And these excursions seemed mild compared to the accounts of family life later on the bleak Afghanistan mountain of Tora Bora. Every “luxury” was absent (by this time Osama considered even running water and heat in the home a luxury).
I was struck by how throughout the book women and children seemed to have no power or voice compared to Osama’s. They routinely filed onto planes or into cars on Osama’s orders afraid to ask where they were bound, or in general to ask any question. Osama’s wife’s philosophy seemed to be to unquestioningly accept whatever hardship or difficult circumstance Osama’s wishes engendered.
The book left me feeling Osama has many legitimate grievances and genuinely wishes to make the world “a better place.” However, his better place would be tightly controlled, patriarchal, and totally Islamic. I give this book 5 stars for readability, interest and its relevance to our world today. ...more
a little dated now, but hard to improve on as an introductory eye opener on psychology - particularly how we perceive others and whether that perceptia little dated now, but hard to improve on as an introductory eye opener on psychology - particularly how we perceive others and whether that perception is justified....more
up close and personal memoir growing up black in a South African ghetto township. Direct, straightforward but not naive or boring writing. Not as wellup close and personal memoir growing up black in a South African ghetto township. Direct, straightforward but not naive or boring writing. Not as well done as J M Coetzee's novels, but taught me more. I bought "Kaffir Boy in America" and "Love in Black and White", also by Mark Mathabane, after reading this book....more
This Australian author is so, so good. Finely drawn and nuanced characters. I found myself rereading the stories to tease out and reconsider ever detaThis Australian author is so, so good. Finely drawn and nuanced characters. I found myself rereading the stories to tease out and reconsider ever detail and shade of meaning....more
A overdue and well deserved account from the often forgotten or disparaged corner of the adoption triad - the first mothers. Very much worth reading.A overdue and well deserved account from the often forgotten or disparaged corner of the adoption triad - the first mothers. Very much worth reading. It's worth thinking too about the parallels between US adoption practices and dismissal of birthparent rights prevalent 25 or so years ago in the US; and current international adoption practices....more
When a PhD candidate (comparative literature, without a job, and feeling like an under achiever at age 33) finds employment teaching at a Vermont prisWhen a PhD candidate (comparative literature, without a job, and feeling like an under achiever at age 33) finds employment teaching at a Vermont prison a fascinating and profound book emerges. The author deftly picks up on his students' stories - which are always interesting, and sometimes presented in many versions, as memory and allegations criss cross - and does not avoid the connections between the prisoners' misdeeds and his own real or imagined ones. There are also many good small essays on literature woven into the book. Maybe most importantly, there is a somewhat depressing overview of US prisons and the overwhelming challenges and problems of rehabilitation. ...more
This book is sometimes simplistic or maybe just...foreign...as you struggle a bit to get what the Danish author is saying. But somewhere along the linThis book is sometimes simplistic or maybe just...foreign...as you struggle a bit to get what the Danish author is saying. But somewhere along the line it grabbed me and drew me into its premise -- seeing the damage wrought by parental control over children, at the expense of good relationship. I found myself really interested in understanding and trying to put into use the better ways Juuls suggests of being in relationship with children. "Children Cooperate" is one of this book's main points, and it's way more scary than it sounds. "Competence" takes on a lot deeper meaning as well once you've read this thoughtful little book. Shelve it near Alice Miller, Alfie Kohn, Thomas Gordon, Haim Ginott, Jon Kabat-Zinn and a few other parenting books that truly may cause you to question and change some of your parenting assumptions....more